I am willing to live in a corrupt city just to be able to do this
|It feels like I just wrote about episode 1 only a short while ago. This feeling is most likely due to the fact that…yes…it has been only a couple of days since my last Psycho-Pass post. At least this means I’m catching up. This is not a series I want to fall behind in, especially since I feel like each episode brings up a wealth of topics to write about and discuss. Last week focused on dealing with latent criminals while this week gives more attention to privileged citizens like Tsunemori.|
Tsunemori stuck to her gut instinct and shot Shinya in order to save a troubled girl from dying without being given a chance. This sounds like a great approach, but it’s not the norm in this particular society, so she gets a lot of unwanted attention and criticism for her actions. Despite this, she wakes up the next day to a “powder blue” Hue check that corresponds to a really stable affect. She even tells her friends that the whole debacle had her up all night worrying. This may be a sign that the system can be good at discerning between temporary states (such as just feeling sad one day) and more serious deviations from neutral moods that appear like more permanent changes to the person. It’s still not perfect since the kidnapped girl from last week was crazy enough to turn the Dominator to lethal mode, but at least there is a difference between passing moods and permanent changes. Tsunemori seems particularly resistant to being changed by her surroundings, and maintains her own ideals of treating everyone equally no matter what their Psycho-Pass rating is. Everyone deserves a chance.
She’s an exception to the rule. The only other person who displays a similar set of morals is, surprisingly, Shinya. His admission to just blindly following orders and ignoring what he thought was right took me completely off-guard. I thought he’d be the one resisting Tsunemori’s goody-two-shoes act, but it looks like he’s right there along with her. His only issue seems to be a past grudge that probably haunts him and keeps his Psycho-Pass rating in the danger zone. That might come back to bite him (and Tsunemori) in the ass later. It turns out that Shinya is with Tsunemori but Tomomi Masaoka is more against her. He just wants to take down targets and move along, and has no intention of squabbling over what’s right, wrong, or what this poor little police girl can do to be more than just a chaperone. It’ll be interesting to see how their morals clash when Shinya gets better and hopefully continues to agree with Tsunemori’s ethical decisions.
Part of why Shinya is so moved by her is that she’s so kind to him. Almost everyone comments on how nice she is to latent criminals in an almost amused way, like when someone talks to an inanimate object or something. It’s just not done. Most people treat latent criminals like actual criminals, after all. They’re locked up all day, require constant monitoring, and are allowed to be shot with very strong paralyzing shots. Shinya was out for over a day from that thing! This isn’t like a tiny, tranquilizer dart! It’s rather impressive that she grew up in a society based on separating people by their affinities, and still filed a report at the end saying that she was doing the right thing. We learn a bit more about how this society works this week, and it’s very big on two interesting issues: the objectification of mental health and decline of free will.
Instead of comparing cup sizes, let’s compare how likely we are to go on a crime spree! Teehee!
Upon meeting up with her friends, Tsunemori complains about her job and the stress that accompanies it. Her friends are jealous that she’s stressed, yet still is in tip-top condition according to the Hue Check she receives in the morning. They go so far as to call her a “mental health beauty.” Most people compliment people on their hair, clothes, or other physical traits that are easy to discern upon first glance. Mental states have become more of a shared fact, so that people can actually say “my, aren’t you looking sane today!” as a replacement for “oohh, what a cute bag!”. Can you imagine talking about your Hue Check with your friends and quantitatively comparing how you’re doing? Would you even want to reveal something like that?
It’s not usually the sort of thing that’s talked about so openly in our society since it’s not a concrete entity. Our mental states are constantly shifting, and impossible to describe. In the Psycho-Pass world, we have a number and colour to describe mental states, and it can be evaluated like you’d grade a paper. A subjective quality has now become objective. That’s just how advanced the technology is – that it has created another category for judging people and forming opinions. We already hold people with good mental health in high regard in real life, but the Psycho-Pass system makes it easier to make that distinction…which has now led to the almost persecutory behaviour towards those who are mentally unstable.
We learn some more nifty facts about the job-sorting system during Tsunemori’s meet-up with her friends and an unexpected encounter with Shuusei Kagari. The system erases bias from race, gender or socioeconomic status and assigns jobs based on how good someone is expected to perform in that position. This is only possible with advanced aptitude tests and complicated scans that could only appear in a futuristic setting like this. These tests rank people based on what type of work they’d do the best in, and that essentially decides what line of work you’ll be in for the rest of your life. It eliminates most of your choice in the matter, but maximizes efficiency. Only people who are caring, meticulous and intelligent will be doctors and only those who are persuasive and good at public speaking will become lawyers. There will be no mismatches, as long as the tests accurately reflect potential…and it seems like they do.
The downside here is that the feeling of having any agency in picking a job that you feel particularly calls out to you is gone. Wanna be a rockstar? Tough tits, you got an A in janitorial work so pick up that mop and get cracking, loser. Unless you do well in numerous sectors (like Tsunemori) then you’re basically just assigned a job that will benefit society the most without any discussion. Tsunemori’s friends don’t seem all too dazzled with the jobs that were chosen for them, so aptitude may not necessarily equal happiness. I get the feeling that Tsunemori is a rare case. Not a lot of people probably do well enough to be able to actually sit down and think about what they want to do for their career. The system is so mechanical and calculating, that choosing the one job that no one else was suited for made her feel special. The system eliminates any feelings of freely choosing a job at will, which may cause people to feel caged in by the job chosen for them since they were ordered to do it.
The funny thing is that she complains about her choices. She got to pick from any job she wanted, but she still feels like it might have been a bad choice, and laments having so many options available. She goes on about all this to Kagari as if she were still talking to her two friends. Kagari is not like her friends, and most certainly not like Tsunemori herself. He was flagged at the age of 5 and detained ever since. There’s apparently a cut-off number for treatment for people who are too far gone to even think about trying to help with therapy. How someone could be too far gone at the tender age of 5 when the mind is still incredibly malleable is beyond me, but that was their decision. Kagari never had a choice about where to work or what to do or even when he got to leave the goddamned building. He spent his entire life being labelled as an unfixable problem suited only for dirty work, and yet here Tsunemori is complaining that…she had too many wonderful choices? Oh poor you, with a magical wardrobe and a talking jellyfish that probably wipes your ass if you’re too tired! How terrible! Kagari really puts things in perspective for her, and by the end I’d say she feels pretty comfortable with her job choice.
“This is my report” “Uhh, this is just a file that says ‘U MAD?’”
Back to Kagari, I’m still reeling a bit from the shock that he was condemned at the age of 5. How do you..do that? How do you just decide someone is so bad that they shouldn’t ever be let out of your sight? From what I understand, he never did anything bad yet, and hasn’t for all of these years. Was keeping him locked up all this time really worth it, or has it fostered a deeper hatred for the other, more privileged civilians in his mind? I think judging people on the probability they’re going to do something is being taken way too far. HE WAS JUST A KID! He was probably picking his nose and watching Pokemon when the authorities just busted in and whisked him away! Not. Cool.
As frighteningly ominous and all-knowing as the system is…the future does come with some undeniably positive technological perks I’m also pretty tickled pink by. Magical wardrobes? Houses that can change their decoration? Invisibility cloaks? Worth it. I now see absolutely nothing wrong with this system. Nope. Nothing.
Bonus Casualty Report: Show ▼
I’m still a big fan of Psycho-Pass (or “The Magic Gun” as my mom calls it). <3 The world-renowned “3 episode test” exists partially because it’s a common occurrence that an anime will have a good first episode and then slowly decline into mediocrity. Psycho-Pass is still going strong and carrying on a lot of momentum from last week, tying up loose ends with a casualty report of the mission and reconcilement with Shinya. That first episode wasn’t just a one-off, but it’s set the tone for the rest of the series. Tsunemori isn’t going to back down from her position, and she will dig her heels in if she feels she’s being pushed in the wrong direction. Shinya’s already caught on to her infectious ideals! I love how things are going so far with Tsunemori’s interactions, but I will admit that most of the characters remain a bit on the dull side. The new doctor (who potentially had some hot, lesbian loving going on before Tsunemori walked in) is probably the most interesting one of the bunch.
The main draw in undeniably the world they’ve created that revolves around predicting future outcomes and limiting the feeling of free will in order to maximize results. Likely to be a criminal? You’ll either be shipped off for therapy or deemed an irreconcilable mess fit only for dirty work no one else wants to do. In a way, the system makes sense…but there are so many shortcomings that it really is just waiting to fall apart. Next week should go by faster so I can see it sooner! I wish I was like Robotics;Notes Aki and had Elephant Mouse syndrome right now…
…Or maybe I’ll hibernate until then. Wake me up in a week, holographic jellyfish mascot!